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8th-Nov-2006 01:40 am
The democratic process is sick folks. It has been for a long time, it's just that as a nation we refuse to recognize it. The moves we're making to make it "better" are equivalent to chopping off an appendage rather than actually attempting to treat a treatable infection. Voter reform, voting machines...all shows to distract from the fact that the system is broken. The fact that we continue to use the Electoral College should make that clear. Now, while I could go on and on about this I won't do so now. I'm actually going to talk about one of the greatest damagers of the democratic process, the media.

Tonight, at 6:00pm I was listening to the news and heard one election race called in the favor of Doc Hastings. Now, in most states this might make some level of sense. However, I happen to live in the state of Washington (the one with the trees, not the high murder rate). For those of you who don't know Washington is going the way of Oregon as far as the voting process works, that is we are slowly going to required mail ballots. In 2005 more than 75% of voters were voting by absentee ballot already (I was one such person), so the transition just makes sense.

Now then, how could an election be called in favor of a candidate when the majority of voters were likely required to mail in their ballots? Maybe Doc's district still largely offers poll sites. Well, that just isn't the case. If you'd like to verify what I'm saying (which I hope you do) you can get a look of Doc's district (the 4th) here. Now, you can compare that with a cool little tool that will pop up how counties vote, here (just click on the county). As you can see (if you looked) Doc's district is mostly mailed ballots. Hrm.

How about this? Most people in Doc's district sent in their ballots early and the majority of them were tallied by the time I heard the news at 6:00pm. Yeah! That's the ticket! Unfortunately as I type this, a little after 1:00am only 29% of Doc's district has reported in. Did you get that folks? 29% of the district has reported by 1:00am, 7 hours AFTER a news station reported that Doc had won his position (or kept it to be correct). Oh, and Yahoo's interactive map indicated 42% of Doc's district had reported at about 1:00am. Still not 50%.

THIS is the stuff that pisses me off about the media and how they report on elections. Personally I don't think the media should say jack about how elections are going until at least 50% of the whatever necessary area (city, county, state) has their results. Sure, it could be argued that your getting a good "sample" at a certain percent but sometimes you get very interesting areas. Washington (for example) runs the gambit for being in the pockets...uh...I mean...in favor of Republicans or Democrats. So, depending on the election you could get very different results depending on what areas report in first.

Anyway, I just had to throw that out there. We're exporting democracy and we (as a nation) are making it look like a joke on many levels. Not the best way to impress others with the system.
9th-Nov-2006 07:16 am (UTC)
I agree that the electoral college should be done away with. I've never understood the need to implement a system in a democratic society where a conceivable outcome could be a candidate winning who did NOT win based on the votes of the actual people. There's at least three times where this has happened in US history and it's mind-boggling that this system still exists today. I do not want to elect someone to vote FOR me, I want to do the voting and have my vote count.

Also for mail-in ballots... don't they have to be mailed by a certain date before election day? I thought that they'd have to be received on time to count...
12th-Nov-2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
The electoral college did serve a purpose back when our country was the size it is and there was minimum technology. It simply made things faster. With today's technology it is archaic and not representative of the actual popular opinion (as you said). Plus there is always the FACT that the person we send DOES NOT have to vote the way the people they represent voted. That's crap.

Mail-in ballots must be post marked by the day of the election.

Personally I think a state's votes should equal it's representation exactly. For example WA has 11 (2 Senators, 9 for population). I think it's fine for the Senators to vote as they see fit (a perk of being elected...and something else to scrutinize them for) and the rest go by district or percentage. That is to say our district (4th) goes with the majority of the district.

It's still not exactly with the popular vote, but it will make things go more smoothly and be more representative. PLUS the side effect is that this breaks down states into smaller pieces when presidential elections happen. That means presidential candidates can't just go to specific states, they have to really think about what districts in that state they need to go to.

The "all or nothing" approach to the use of electoral votes creates favoritism and bias between states in their power and the consideration presidential candidates give to them.

There are states that have tried to do the district breakdown idea via official initiative but it never passes as the majority of people don't want their state's influence negated by being the only one doing it. For the district concept to work it would have to be a nation wide change, all at once.
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